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Broadband Sub Growth Slows in Q3

The 14 largest U.S. cable operators and telcos, representing 95% of the market, added 380,000 net additional high-speed internet subs in Q3 2017, driven again by gains by MSOs, Leichtman Research Group said in a report issued Thursday.

That was well behind the 625,000 net additional subs that those top ISPs added in the year-ago quarter, and presented more evidence that the U.S. broadband sector is nearing saturation.

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The top broadband providers accounted for about 94.5 million subs, with 60.4 million with cable ops, and 34.1 million going to the telcos.

The nation’s largest cable operators added about 540,000 broadband subs in Q3, or 69% of the net adds they had in the year-ago period, LRG said.

The telcos, meanwhile, lost 155,000 broadband subs in Q3, roughly equal to the 150,000 they lost in Q3 2016.

For the first three quarters of 2017, cable ops have added 2 million broadband subs, compared to a loss of 430,000 subs among the telcos, LRG said.

“Major providers now account for over 94.5 million broadband subscribers in the US, yet the broadband market is still expanding with cable providers continuing to drive the growth,” Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, said in a statement.  “Over the past year, cable companies added about than 2.86 million broadband subscribers, accounting for 124% of the 2.3 million net broadband additions.”